Ask the Judge, 05/20/2005: Feature Friday
ASK THE JUDGE 05/20/2005, Feature Friday
Saviors Cards I'm Going to Like
Tomorrow is the Saviors of Kamigawa Prerelease worldwide. You've already no doubt been over the rumored spoilers (I can say for a certainty there's no card in SOK with both Kicker and Buyback, despite what you may have heard) and the FAQ. I've already picked out few cards (from official sources) that have piqued my interest as either a player or a Judge. Remember that as a player, I mostly restrict myself to casual formats.
Epic is the first thing that I noticed, both how cool and how fragile it is. No more spells means no more spells. That being said, playing some cool Epic thing like Enduring Ideal, allowing you to fetch a new enchantment every turn would be cool if you have in play plenty of permanents with activated abilities, like perhaps Phyrexian Processor and Null Brooch. Of course, if you play with Enchantments like the Opals and Hidden guys, you would have a whole army at your disposal. Too bad you can't Imprint Replenish on Panoptic Mirror for a little extra insurance.
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant is interesting in any kind of life gain deck. My first thought was to put him in my Elder Dragon Highlander deck, but since you generally start at more than 30 life, we might have to have some special rule, like he can't flip until you go below 30 and then back above or somesuch. If you have ideas on how we can handle this in EDH, say so in the forums.
Remember that with all the Ascendants, which go from creatures to enchantments in their flipped states, any counters remain on the permanent (even though they're likely to have no effect). If some delayed-triggered ability, such as Defiant Vanguard or Berserk, applies to the creature, it will also apply to the enchantment. In the previous two examples, you'll still destroy it at the appropriate times.
I'm also fond of the Kirin. I've always like milling, and new ways to do it, like Cloudhoof Kirin, interest me. I'll remind you that when you're looking for something's converted mana cost, you look in the upper right corner of the card. Additional and alternate costs of playing the spell don't add to the CMC.
As someone who likes to play a good deal of reanimation, I'm looking at Ashes of the Fallen, aka the graveyard Conspiracy. It's definitely an under-the-radar card, and not worth someone wasting a Naturalize on, but it makes your Patriarch's Bidding rather nasty. While we're talking about it, I'll quote this bit from the Saviors of Kamigawa FAQ: "If Spirit is the chosen creature type, the soulshift ability will be able to target any creature card in your graveyard of the appropriate converted mana cost. Suppose two creatures, including one with soulshift, are put into your graveyard from play at the same time. The Spirit creature type is added as the cards enter the graveyard, just before you choose the target for the soulshift ability."
I'm most certainly going to be adding the already-errata'd Erayo, Soratami Ascendant (the errata has it trigger on only the first spell; as written, it triggered on all appropriate spells but only countered the first). There are more than enough turns where four spells get played. Of course, this card may end up in the Seedborn Muse file: as soon as you play it, you've just painted a huge target on your head. Note that if you have both Erayo's Essence and Kira, Great Glass-Spinner in play and the first spell an opponent plays targets one of your creatures, both abilities will try to counter it. Since you control them both, you get to decide how the triggered abilities are stacked, and therefore which one actually gets to counter it. It doesn't really matter since it gets countered anyway, but Erayo's Essence won't prevent Kira's ability from getting used up.
I know Chris Richter is going to say this a zillion times in "Ask the Judge," but you can't under any circumstances, no way, no how, play Evermind. Ever. (Waits for it...). No, not even then.
I'm sure Kami of the Crescent Moon (Kami of the Howling Mine?) has stirred up some interest. I'm not a big fan of letting opponents draw cards unless I can punish them for it, so I doubt this Kami makes the cut. Remember that the triggered ability goes on the stack after your normal draw.
Life gain being a necessary part of multiplayer games, I'm liking Kiyomaro, First to Stand. Only the number of cards in your hand, not Kiyomaro's power and toughness, determine whether it has the life gain ability. If you have seven cards but it's only 6/6 due to Engineered Plague, you'll still gain the life. If you have seven or more cards in hand when Kiyomaro's triggered ability goes on the stack but less than seven when the ability resolves, the ability does nothing, so be careful with your combat tricks.
Measure of Wickedness will generate some questions, but it really boils down to "if you don't currently control it, you can't sacrifice it." If you control it when the ability triggers, you're going to lose the eight life, even if you don't control Measure of Wickedness when the triggered ability resolves (because a card went to your graveyard after the trigger went on the stack and you gave away control). I predict many crazy things happening with Measure of Wickedness and multiplayer games (a la Jinxed Ring).
Pithing Needle is being hailed as the card that shuts down Umezawa's Jitte, but I also suspect it will shut down many Sensei's Divining Top as well. In other formats, I see Eternal Dragon getting the call quite often, since Pithing Needle affects cards in all zones. If a land has a mana and a non-mana ability, like Rishadan Port, the Needle will prevent the non-mana ability from being played.
Make sure when you're playing against Sakashima the Impostor at the Prerelease, you read the entire text. The bounce ability returns it at end of turn, not immediately. Note that it only gets the bounce ability if it actually copies something. It can't copy itself since it's not in play when you choose what to copy.
Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant completes the cycle of Ascendants that will make it into my EDH deck, especially paired with Sweep cards. The flip condition is tricky to achieve, but the immense personal Mana Flare is too good to pass up. Now I just have to go find that Azusa, Lost But Seeking to put back in.
Those are the cards that I've found interesting or will find me playing them sometime very soon (maybe as soon as Sunday!). I hope you have a great time at your Prerelease.
See you next week.